Athletic Club – Espanyol: chronicle, goals and result

Reach and grind. Martin Braithwaite has had a dream debut. The Danish forward took 48 hours to teach RDT what the path is to reconcile with the Espanyol fans. Commitment, attitude and a decisive goal. Braithwaite has returned to San Mamés the affection received on social networks by the white-and-blues supporters by signing the goal of the Spanish team’s first victory (0-1) in the League. A balmy triumph in a screwed up game, but one that leaves a Spaniard happy who leaves Bilbao with the feeling of having a goalkeeper again. After conceding seven goals in three days with Lecomte, Álvaro Fernández closed his debut with a clean sheet.

In San Mamés, Espanyol experienced a real exercise in Numantine resistance. Athletic did not take long to surround Diego Martínez’s players in their third of the field. With Berenguer as archer, throwing arrows into the heart of the area, the lions subdued the white-and-blues in a first half in which the visitors hardly managed to cross the midfield line. The winger, who sent a free kick over the crossbar in the last play of the first half, has become a real headache for Óscar Gil who has once again been overwhelmed.

Eleven shots from six local players in the first half, with only one deflected by Joselu, sums up perfectly what the first 45 minutes have been like. It has been the turn of a Spanish side to suffer bravely and, unlike in the previous days, has found in the debutant Álvaro Fernández unprecedented safety this season. The Rioja goalkeeper, who made his debut taking advantage of Lecomte’s suspension, was one of the new additions to an eleven that also featured the new Braithwaite. The ex-Blaugrana, who had not started in a League game since August 2021, had enough with two days as a Spanish player to make a place in Espanyol’s lineup. The Dane, leaning on the left side, was barely able to participate with the ball at his feet until the goal, but he showed gallantry and experience by indicating corrections to his teammates in the positioning.

Three injured

Seeing that his team was not having enough consistency or control in the middle of the field, Diego Martínez has chosen to remove a misguided Expósito and bet on Keidi Bare. Two physical problems, however, have significantly disrupted the Galician coach’s plans. First up was Bare, who was replaced a quarter of an hour after entering the field with a right thigh injury. Shortly after it was Calero’s turn, who was completing an imperial match in defense. At the end of the match, it was the debutant Lazo who ended up injured. In the absence of the centre-back and the right-back that he hoped to incorporate in this market, Diego Martínez did not hesitate to give his first first-team minutes to two youngsters from the subsidiary who had left great impressions during the pre-season: the center from Terrasse of Algerian origin Wassim Keddari, Simo17 years old, and Moroccan full-back Omar El Hilali, 18 years old.

Espanyol did not stop suffering in the second half, but managed to take a step forward to live more minutes in the opponent’s field. In an isolated action, Braithwaite took oil from a misunderstanding between two defenders and ended up beating Unai Simón, who had not conceded a goal in the previous three days.



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